Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is that baby real?!? Tour of California

I can't believe what people will do. I'm glad I taped this as I couldn't believe what I saw. If that baby is real, it needs to be taken away from what I'm guessing is the father. Sorry for the poor quality, video didn't cooperate.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tour of California Fans show up the French

Well, the U.S. fans are quite interesting to say the least. Make sure you are not eating while you view this.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tour of California Coverage Sucks

So last year I was on vacation watching Tour de France each afternoon. I remember thinking how much better the U.S. coverage of a bike race would be than the coverage of the Tour de France. I would now like to retract that statement.

I've watched all of the Tour of California on Versus this week, and I have not been impressed. Some of their mistakes I can understand. The weather can't be controlled, and weather problems led to transmission breakups. Frustrating, but not their fault.

How about watching a race for two hours, and just as the racers start gearing up for the finish, Versus decided to cut away to the hockey game. Well, let's hope they learned from that mistake, ugggh.

How about today's race. After investing a few hours of my life, the racers enter Pasadena. They come to the last lap, things are tight. The breakaway group is attacking constantly. And what does Versus do? The pan out and show the Rose Bowl and the surrounding mountains just when the racers are making their last moves toward the finish line!

And with all of the technology that Versus has available, wouldn't you think they could have constant time checks? Is it too much to ask to know how far ahead the peleton is? Too much to ask to know how many miles are left to the finish? Nope, we have to wait until the throw it up on the screen about every 20 minutes.

And the rider information is not much better. When they put up on the television the list of riders in the breakaway group, how hard would it be to list all pertinent information? I mean, it would be nice to have the cyclist's name, the country they're from, and the team name all at the same time. I mean most of the viewers are casual fans who only watch the last day of the Tour de France, don't you think they could help them out a bit?

Sure, they do some good stuff. The announcers are good, the quality of the video (when it works) is crisp. But all the other stuff easily outweighs all the good stuff. Well, let's hope they learn from their mistakes this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Me, I am NOT an endurance racer

Well, I'm trying to be a bit more organized in my training this year. Last year I rode a lot, but nothing very organized and the race results showed it. Very average, and even a DNF.

So the idea this winter is each week to do one long ride, one of intervals, and one of "sweet spot" riding if I can. So yesterday was my long ride day.

I went to Connellsville and rode to Ohio Pyle. Couldn't remember what the trail was made of. Turned out to be hard packed and very finely crushed limestone. My road bike turned out to be fine, but the ground went from fairly well packed, to a big soggy and slow.

Anyway, rode three hours and realized that in no way I can be an endurance rider. From the beginning that little mental dialogue was happening. You know, "Come on, why are we doing this? We can just turn around now and grab a big mac, no one will know." It only gets worse from there. I remember watching 24 hour solo thinking I could probably do that some day. Oh, that's a knee slapper. Whatever in the world was I thinking?

And of course my mp3 player quit working 15 minutes into the ride, sigh. I really wish I would've had my camera though; there was some really great scenery - snow, ice, waterfalls, mountain laurel.

In the end, I was really glad I did the ride. Legs feel tired in that good sort of way. And I'm hoping that these rides really pay off this spring. Well, for that I have to wait and see.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lake MXZ302 Winter Cycling Shoe - My Review

Lake MXZ302 Winter Cycling Shoe - 2008

After having my feet feeling like frozen block of ice the last three winters, I decided I was serious about riding in the winter and needed some real winter cycling shoes.

I got together my extra cash, realized I needed more and got what I could from under the couch cushions and sent away for some Lake winter cycling shoes. Well, these things weren't going to be cheap but if they did what I've read in other reviews then I was hoping I was making a good investment.

First impressions:

Too small. I have narrow feet, and having read I should order one size bigger, that's exactly what I did. The shoes were delivered, and too small. My regular cycyling shoes are a size 45, and I ended up needed a 47 in the Lakes.

Got the shoes just in time for the Punk Enduro ride. I took the new shoes out of the box, installed the cleats for my Eggbeaters and put on the shoes. The lacing system is awesome, you just spin a little dial and the "fishing line" laces snug right up. Very easy to get just the right tension.

Now taking them off was interesting. Not much documentation in the box. Well, that would be no problem for a well-educated rider like myself. I could NOT figure out how to release the laces. After way too much time, I realized all I had to do was pull up on the dial and it released. Whew. This release system is great for when you're done with a ride and exhausted and really don't want to undo laces or straps. Only downside is when you're tightening the laces, the dial sometimes releases the laces. Really not a big deal.

The Punk Enduro was not very cold this year, about 40 degrees, so warmth wouldn't be a problem. Now mud and streams, yes that I would test. Short version: I rode in a lot of mud and crossed a lot of streams and totally forgot I was wearing the shoes. A great compliment indeed. My feet were toasty and dry at the end of the ride. There was no break in period needed, and I did not treat the leather with the included MiniWax. I will treat it in the future though.

Road riding with the Lakes: overall they kept my feet way warmer than cycling shoes with overboots. For about the first hour my feet were really comfortable in the 20 degree weather. They started getting cold the second hour, but not unbearable so. But when you figure your feet aren't moving much and you get the added wind chill from road riding, that's not so bad. Took the shoes off when I got home and my wool socks were soaked. Now, I didn't ride through any water, so I'm pretty sure my feet overheated early in the ride then cooled off from all of the sweat. Not sure how to get around this as I've tried both thick and thin wool socks.

Mountain biking with Lakes: I could go 10-15 degrees colder while mountain biking. I think this was due to the lack of windchill that you get on the road, and the fact your feet move a bit more. For instance, when I had to hike a bike due to snow fall. Shoes totally comfortable when hiking around.

Overall opinion: very good winter shoes, they don't quite live up to the hype , but I'm very pleased. I can ride a lot longer before my feet get cold. If you're into all of the technical specs you can read here, but that stuff means not a thing to me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Flight 1549 tapes released - wow

Gave me goose bumps listening to the pilot talking with air traffic control as they were headed to a landing in the Hudson.